MANILA – A four-day workweek for government workers and flexible work arrangements are among the options being considered by the government to help prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) as well as prevent job losses as the private sector attempts to cope with the impact of the outbreak on businesses.
This according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, who in an interview on Tuesday said, that “as far as the Civil Service is concerned, they are discussing the adoption of a four-day workweek as one of the measures that the Civil Service can do in terms of government workers.”
Classes in the National Capital Region have been suspended from March 10 to 14 as part of efforts to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 in Metro Manila after the number of confirmed cases in the country reached 24 Monday evening.
Nograles, a member of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease, said the suspension of classes in NCR could be extended or lifted based on developments this week.
He added that as far as employees in the private sector are concerned, “the Department of Labor and Employment just recently issued a labor advisory that regulates flexi-work arrangements.”
The point of the advisory, Nograles explained is “to discourage businesses from laying off and retrenching workers and adopting a flexi-work arrangement instead.”
This, he said, particularly applies to the tourism industry, which has been hit hard by the outbreak.
The former legislator from Davao stressed that the government is urging the private sector to avoid layoff of workers given the temporary nature of the Covid-19 outbreak.
“At one point we will be able to control this. So what’s happening now in the tourism and travel industry would be considered temporary; because it’s temporary we don’t need to retrench or fire workers.” (PR)